Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ROLE MODELS AMERICA, INC. v. WHITE

January 15, 2002

ROLE MODELS AMERICA, INC., PLAINTIFF,
V.
THOMAS E. WHITE, SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Urbina, District Judge.

DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER; DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, AND; DENYING AS MOOT THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on Role Models America, Inc.'s ("the plaintiff") motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, and the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, After consideration of the parties' submissions and relevant law, the court concludes that the plaintiff has failed to sufficiently demonstrate that it has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, that it will be irreparably harmed, that the balance of hardships favors the issuance of an injunction, or that the public interest will be furthered if the court were to grant the injunctive relief requested. Accordingly, the court will deny the plaintiffs motions for injunctive relief and deny as moot the defendants' motion to dismiss with prejudice, along with the other various motions that have been subsequently filed by the plaintiff.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

By way of background, the dispute in this case is centered around the disposal of surplus military property that is part of Fort Ritchie Military Reservation, located in Washington County, northeast of Hagerstown, in the community of Cascade, Maryland at the intersection of Routes 500 and 491. See Def.'s Ex. 1. The Fort Ritchie property is available under the provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1945, as amended 40 U.S.C. § 484(k), and the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Act of 1994, as amended 10 U.S.C. § 2687. See id. The surplus real property at Fort Ritchie (hereinafter "the surplus property") encompasses approximately 635.65 acres and contains 252 buildings, totaling 1,384,000 square feet of space. See id. The current range of uses of the surplus property includes administrative, residential, retail, open recreation, and special purpose space. See id.

The surplus property is currently leased to Pen Mar Development Corporation of Maryland ("Pen Mar"). See Pl.'s Ex. 9 ¶ 1.2. The General Assembly of the State of Maryland created Pen Mar as a public corporation for the purpose of developing the Fort Ritchie property. See Pl.'s Ex. 11, 13, 14, 15. As such, Pen Mar is a creature of Maryland statute. See Chapter 737, Laws of Maryland 1997, Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 83A, § 5-1201 et seq.

The plaintiff is a Maryland 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with its principal place of business in Cascade, Maryland. See Compl. ¶ 3. Its objective is to establish and operate a national model Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps college-preparatory magnet school for the nation's high school "drop-outs." See id. Congress funds the plaintiff's program through the U.S. Department of Labor. See Pl.'s Ex. 16. The plaintiff intends to build military-style schools using surplus property from military base closures, which provide the facilities needed to operate a large residential program of this type. See id.

On March 10, 2000, the plaintiff entered into a sublease agreement with Pen Mar for use of the surplus property. See Pl.'s Ex. 9. The terms of that agreement require the plaintiff to pay Pen Mar $1,265,955.00 per year in quarterly installments of $316,498.75 for approximately 275,000 square feet of space. See id. ¶ 1.7. The agreement further provides both parties with the option to extend the lease. See id. ¶ 1.4. Moreover, the parties noted in the agreement that Pen Mar is acquiring full title to the Fort Ritchie property. See id. ¶ 1.2.

Defendant Thomas E. White,*fn1 Secretary of the Army, is named as a defendant in this action in his official capacity along with the Army (collectively "the defendants"). See Compl. ¶ 4. The defendants plan on transferring nearly 280 acres to Pen Mar in the first phase of the Fort Ritchie comprehensive redevelopment plan. See Pl.'s Mot. for Expedited Consideration ("Pl.'s Mot. for Exped. Consid."), Ex. 2.

As of April 2001, Pen Mar had at least two pending suits against the plaintiff in Maryland courts respecting Fort Ritchie. See Compl. ¶ 29. The first suit concerns Pen Mar's alleged return of the plaintiff's rent check and a subsequent action against the plaintiff for eviction and back payment in Maryland state court. See id. The second suit concerns the improper display of flags at Fort Ritchie. See id.

The plaintiff seeks to acquire the Fort Ritchie property through a public benefit conveyance pursuant to the Base Closure Act of 1994, as amended 10 U.S.C. § 2687. See Compl. ¶ 32. The plaintiff fears that the defendants will resume negotiations with Pen Mar for execution of the memorandum of agreement for property transfer at Fort Ritchie. See generally Pl.'s Reply Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Exped. Consid. The plaintiff contends that conveyance of Fort Ritchie from the Army to Pen Mar would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiff and its ability to establish a successful program for at-risk youth. See Pl.'s Mot. for a Preliminary Injunction ("Pl.'s Prelim. Inj. Mot.") ¶ 6. As such, the plaintiff requests that the court order the defendants to re-open the screening process at Fort Ritchie. See Compl. at 1, 10. In the alternative, the plaintiff asks the court to order the Army to directly convey the property to the plaintiff as a public benefit conveyance. See id. Accordingly, the plaintiff seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction preventing the Army from transferring Fort Ritchie to Pen Mar. See id. ¶ 3.

The defendants counter the plaintiff's allegations by arguing three points. First, the defendants argue that the plaintiff cannot show irreparable harm because the plaintiff will continue to operate its Academy under the lease term negotiated in March 2000. See Def.'s Opp'n ¶ A. Second, the defendants assert that this court lacks jurisdiction because the matter is not ripe for judicial review. See id. ¶ B. On this second point, the defendants state that final agency action has not occurred and that the property has not yet been transferred to Pen Mar. See id. Third, the defendants contend that the plaintiff received proper and adequate notice of the availability of the surplus property since the screening process was properly conducted within the meaning of the Base Closure Act. See id. ¶ C.

B. Procedural History

By way of procedural history in the case, on July 24, 2001, the plaintiff filed its complaint alleging the following in support of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction: (1) the Army violated Base Closure laws, specifically the Base Closure Act of 1994 ("BCA"), as amended 10 U.S.C. § 2687, and the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), as amended 5 U.S.C. § 701 et. seq., by negotiating a transfer of the Fort Ritchie property with Pen Mar, thus triggering a final agency action; (2) the Army violated the BCA and the APA by improper notification of the availability of the surplus property, and; (3) the Army violated the BCA and the APA by conducting an improper screening process of the Fort Ritchie property. The complaint further claims that the Army's actions were arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law in violation of the BCA and the APA.

On July 25, 2001, the defendants filed an opposition to the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction. The defendants' opposition states that the Army's actions were not arbitrary and capricious, nor contrary to applicable law. Moreover, the Army contends that it conducted the screening process, notice, and lease in compliance with the directives of the BCA. On August 1, 2001, the plaintiff filed a reply reiterating its challenge to the final agency action under the APA for failure to give proper notice and for inadequate conduct of the screening process. On September 25, 2001, the defendants filed a "motion to dismiss or transfer for improper venue, alternatively, to dismiss as unripe for review, or to dismiss in part for failure to state a claim to which relief is entitled, or for summary judgment." On October 11, 2001, the plaintiff filed a "motion for expedited consideration of the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction, to schedule a hearing on the plaintiffs motions, and for production of documents."*fn2

The court now turns to these motions and for the reasons that follow, the court denies the plaintiffs motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Additionally, the court denies as moot the defendants' motion to dismiss ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.